I took delivery of a 2023 Rivian R1S about two weeks ago, and have been thoroughly enjoying my time with it since. However, as much as I love the R1S, it's not perfect, and I did receive the vehicle with a couple factory defects. That led me to go over the entire vehicle to look for other manufacturing defects and inspect the overall build quality.
The build quality of automobiles seems to be under more scrutiny than I can ever recall in my 40 years of driving and buying cars. I attribute it mostly to the attention that Tesla has received for delivering vehicles that often fall short customer build quality expectations.
The misaligned hatch panel on my 2021 Tesla Model 3
I personally bought two Tesla Model 3s; one was a 2019 and the second a 2021. The 2019 wasn't really bad. There were some misaligned body panels and some loose trim, but I didn't feel the need to have any of it corrected. However, when I took delivery of the 2021 Model 3, the passenger side doors were badly misaligned and needed to be removed and reset. The hatch was also very poorly aligned and needed to be adjusted so it would close properly and look better.
Additionally, when I rented a brand new 2020 Tesla Model Y to do the InsideEVs 70 mph range test, I found quite a few serious quality issues, including a wiring harness hanging out of the wheel well and the passenger side door speaker fell off when I closed the door.
Tesla's ongoing build quality issues have inspired owners of other brands to also perform vehicle inspections far beyond what most people commonly used to do, and consumer interest in the topic is on the rise. Therefore, I decided to closely examine my Rivian R1S and report my findings.
Before I even get into the build quality inspection in the video, I explain that the R1S was delivered to me with two issues that I consider factory defects. The first, and most serious, is an issue with the air suspension. When the vehicle releases air to lower the body, it's unreasonably loud, so much so that's it's quite embarrassing when you are walking away from it after parking in a public parking lot.
My Rivian R1S has a defective front passenger door gasket that won't remain secured in place.
Secondly, I've noticed the rubber gasket below the passenger's side front door won't remain attached to the vehicle as it should. There's a small section of the gasket, about 10 to 12 inches long that sags away from the vehicle when the door is left open.
The rest of the gasket, as well as the gaskets for the other doors are all secured properly and remain snug against the body of the vehicle as they should be.
- 02:07 Initial delivery issues
- 08:20 Panel gaps
- 10:50 Plastic trim
- 14:25 PPF application
- 15:10 The charge port door
- 16:39 The windows
- 17:45 The glass roof and plastic trim
- 19:57 The door gasket issue
- 21:49 Interior
I scheduled a Rivian mobile service appointment for a technician to look at, and hopefully repair both of these issues. After sending a video of the air suspension noise, the Rivian technician believes one of the hoses in the air suspension came loose, or perhaps was never attached at the factory. The will also replace the rubber gasket with the hope that fixes the issue.
Overall, I am very impressed with the build quality. The panel gaps are nearly perfect all around the vehicle with the exception of where the hood meets the top of the right headlight. The two main issues I found upon inspection are the plastic trim, particularly around the rear wheel wells is not well aligned.
Gallery: 2022 Rivian R1S First Drive
I noticed that problem on my R1T also, as well as the other Rivian vehicles I see in the wild. Rivian could improve upon its installation of the plastic trim fitment because it seems to be a weak link in the manufacturing process. Another issue I had, and see on other Rivian vehicles is the PPF application on the lower body panels.
I observed on both my R1T and R1S that the PPF wasn't installed properly and the edges were already starting to peel back. This should be an easy problem to solve by simply taking a little more time when it's installed to make sure the film is applied correctly around all of the edges.